Big Wind Turbine Gets Student Perusal

Twelve students from across Western Illinois University’s (WIU) interdisciplinary studies, parks and recreation and manufacturing engineering majors recently had a hands-on opportunity to check out a utility-scale wind turbine in action at Adams Electric Cooperative open house event, thanks to WIU’s Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) Wind Energy Program.

According to WIU, the new 1.5-megawatt turbine, located east of Mt. Sterling, stands 279 feet to the hub and 403 feet to the blade tip and will generate enough power for 300-400 homes each year.  The blades start to produce electricity in winds as light as 6.7 mph and reach full capacity in winds starting at 24.6 mph. When operating at full capacity, the blades tips move at 149.1 mph. It is the second turbine installed by the cooperative and has been in operation since the beginning of September.

Western Illinois University students

image via Western Illinois University

The IIRA program, housed at WIU, was designed to improve the quality of life in rural Illinois by developing public-private partnerships with local agencies on small business development and community development projects in rural areas. More information on the program and its work to promote alternative energy in Illinois is available online.

“We were excited to provide our students with an opportunity that would allow them to have a hands-on educational experience,” IIRA Wind Energy Program Coordinator Jolene Willis said in a statement.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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